Politics

China says will help key industries resume work in locked-down Shanghai


SHANGHAI (REUTERS) – China said on Friday (April 15) that it will help hundreds of companies in key sectors to resume production in locked-down Shanghai, the commercial capital at the centre of the country’s latest Covid-19 outbreak, as businesses warn of the growing economic toll of restrictions.

The announcement comes as a growing number of business leaders and analysts warn that China’s strict “zero-Covid” policy is triggering economic disruptions that are rippling through global supply chains for goods from electric vehicles to iPhones.

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology will work with 666 companies making semiconductors, automobiles, and in the medical sector to get back to work, it said in a statement late on Friday.

Teams have been sent to Shanghai to ensure the resumption of work at these key industrial companies, the regulator added.

Electric-car maker Xpeng and technology giant Huawei warned of looming industry-wide suspensions of output if suppliers in Shanghai and surrounding areas cannot resume work, while numerous foreign firms have recently announced production halts at their Chinese plants.

Airlines and the property sector are also feeling the pain.

Although Shanghai’s 23,000 new infections reported on Friday were down from more than 27,000 the previous day, they included a record 3,200 symptomatic cases, versus 2,573 a day earlier.

Xpeng’s chief executive He Xiaopeng issued a dire warning for the sector unless the situation improved.

“If the suppliers in Shanghai and its surrounding areas can’t find a way to resume operations and production, in May possibly all of China’s carmakers will have to stop production,” he said on the Wechat social media app.

Richard Yu, chief executive of both Huawei’s consumer business group and its smart car unit, mirrored He’s sentiments in private comments confirmed by the company, adding that the industry faced huge losses.

Shipments of some Apple products, as well as Dell and Lenovo laptops could also face delays, analysts said.

On Friday the transport ministry announced a national pass system to let cargo vehicles move between higher risk zones without delays, as long as drivers have normal temperatures and a negative virus test no older than 48 hours.

An April 7 study by Gavekal Dragonomics found that 87 of China’s 100 largest cities by gross domestic product have imposed some form of quarantine curbs.



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